Tuesday, August 21, 2007


To quote the great American philosopher, Neil Diamond:

"Money talks
But it don't sing and dance
And it don't walk"

Why is it that we crave money so greatly? Perhaps this can be justified, but why is there such an urgency to have money as young as possible? After all, it's only money...

Walking around New York City, I watch recent graduates commit themselves to corporate slavery. Of course they don't talk about their bonuses as much in person as they do over blackberries. And yet, I understand this. There is something to be said for the desire to be 23 years old, in the greatest city in the world, with enough financial support to take advantage of all that this city has to offer. Hell, I even put myself in this category.

I'm talking about the next step. Forget about making enough money to comfortably enjoy the life in the big city at a young age. I'm talking about people with their eyes on "the prize". I'm talking about those who put Gordon Gecco on a pedastol and find value solely in assets. Why? What is it that they want? Is it the status? Is it the toys? Is it the power? Maybe it is all of these things, but will they really derive happiness and a sense of accomplishment from wealth?

Pretend that you are 23 and living in New York City. Your salary triples, or even quadruples, tomorrow. What would be different? I'd probably live in a little nicer place, buy some nicer clothes, travel a bit more, attend more events, and buy more rounds of drinks at the bar (we all know I greatly miss buying rounds of drinks). Yet, the smiles and laughter of life would be the same if I were drinking 25 year old scotch as if I were drinking a $4 beer. I would enjoy the football game as much from the upper-deck as from the fifty yard line.

I have one defense for the money hungry: One of life's greatest joys is the smiles we lend to others. Specifically, we give out of selfishness to our friends and family. The craving of wealth to protect the people we love and care about is tough to overcome. We don't want money to be an obstacle for our children and their educations, or their childrens' educations. We want more for them than whatever we had for ourselves. For many, like myself, it is important to secure this protection before we go out into the world to make a difference. Bend the words and justifications any way you like, it's selfish.

We need to keep perspective. We need to remember that money is only money. We need to move forward knowing that there is a point at which we can say, it's enough. "Comfort" must have its boundaries and at some point it should be an obligation of the educated mass to give back to the greater good. Perhaps it's okay to money hungry for a while, so long as we are not entirely hungry for ourselves. The question is whether or not we'll remember feeling this way when the day comes that we can move on?

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